Positive energy: Maison Air et Lumière

Using a design principle that integrates architectural quality and energy efficiency, the VELUX Group set out to develop a home with a positive energy balance, a neutral environmental impact and the capacity to enhance well being. The demo private residence would be located in France, but needed to be adaptable to other regions and purposes.


A beautiful home with an environmental conscience

Built in 2011 in a beautiful area south of Paris, the Maison Air et Lumière is a modern house with a pinch of traditional French architecture. The modular architectural concept pays tribute to the country’s cultural heritage with its distinctive pitched roof. In a modern context, pitched roofs – which in France vary in steepness according to region and climate – can be adapted to meet light and solar gain needs, as well as allowing for varied interiors to suit personal preferences.

The house combines three modules that fit together to create a visually diverse, dynamic 130 m² space that extends over one and a half storeys, with all areas under the roof put to full use.

Energy use is displayed in real time so that residents can take an active role in optimizing consumption.

Every day, we can see our consumption on the screen. It’s not a constraint – it gives a feeling of responsibility. It’s easy to wear a pullover or use less water when taking a a shower.

The Pastour Family, residents at Maison Air et Lumière
Photos: Adam Mørk

3D model

Key design elements and achievements

Maison Air et Lumière complies with the Active House principles, integrating energy, indoor comfort and the environment in the building design.

Renewable resources 

The home’s energy concept is based on optimal use of renewable resources (solar energy, natural light and fresh air) to minimize the need for air conditioning in summer, reduce heating in winter, and reduce artificial lighting use.

Insulation for heat consistency

A concrete base keeps the home insulated from below, while a low-temperature, under-floor heating system further improves indoor heat consistency. Despite the interplay of roof structures, the wood-frame building is compact and well insulated. To further ensure a stable and comfortable interior temperature, the interior walls are lined with terracotta tiles. The insulation efficiency, combined with the internal heat recovery and solar gains through the windows, reduce heating demands to a minimum.

Solar-powered heat, hot water and electricity

Heating and hot water are provided by a heat pump connected to VELUX thermal solar panels and photovoltaic solar cells installed on the steep, south-facing roof, which serves as a 5th façade. The home’s low-energy electric lighting, appliances and multimedia equipment are powered by the 35 m² of photovoltaic cells integrated in the roof. To further reduce electricity consumption, the home has an active façade with sensors that respond to changes in the outside temperature.

Intelligent ventilation and temperature control

The home’s hybrid natural/mechanical ventilation system adjusts according to the temperature and weather conditions. This means that despite the region’s warm summers, Maison Air et Lumière does not require air conditioning.

Natural light

The VELUX Group designed the home with an eye on providing plentiful natural light. Maison Air et Lumière’s unusually high 1:3 window-to-floor ratio not only enhances the residents’ physical and psychological health and well-being and visually enlarges the interior spaces, but also saves energy by reducing artificial light use.

Flexible, thoughtful design

Maison Air et Lumière’s architecture is adapted harmoniously to its site and revolves around natural light and ventilation. Carefully positioned façade and roof windows bring in fresh air and sunlight from all directions to create an ideal environment and bathe the interior with a balanced, natural glow. Furthermore, the home’s unique and flexible design concept enables various compositions – whether the house is small or large, in town or in the countryside. The design allows the principles of comfortable living, energy efficiency and environmental quality to easily be applied in different contexts.

Active House radar

Daylight factor

An avarage DF below 2% generally makes a room look dull and electrical lighting is likely to be frequently used, whereas an interior will look substantially daylit when the avarage DF is above 5%

Simulations were made by the VELUX Daylight Visualizer 2, a software tool dedicated to daylighting design and analysis. For more details and download, visit http://viz.velux.com.


Ground floor

First floor